Grilling season is upon us! Did you know that fruits and vegetables can be grilled? Grilling your fruits and vegetables adds a different flavor. Below are some grilling tips that were adapted from "Guide to Grilling" at http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com. Farmer's Markets are opening very soon. To get the freshest locally grown produce, remember your local farmer's market!
Definition of Terms:
Blanch: when blanching vegetables, cook them briefly until they are just barely tender.
Direct Heat: When cooking foods on a grill using direct heat, position the foods directly over the flames or hot coals; the temperature usually will exceed 500 degrees F. Use this method for foods that take less than 25 minutes to cook such as: kabobs, tempeh, tofu, vegetables, sausages, steaks, hamburgers, and most seafood.
Indirect Heat: When cooking foods on a grill using indirect heat, position the food on the grill adjacent to the fire or coals but not directly over them, then closing the lid to create an oven-like environment. Temperatures should range from ~ 350 degrees F to 400 degrees F and wood chips may be used if a smoky flavor is desired. The indirect method is best for larger pieces of meat like whole chickens or turkeys, ribs, roasts, or leg of lamb. When using indirect heat with a gas grill, leave one burner off and place the meat on the grate directly over the cool burner. When using a charcoal grill, pile all the coals along the sides of the grill, and place the food in the center away from the hot coals. You may want to place a metal drip pan underneath meat to collect the meat juices.
1. Use a light brushing of olive or canola oil to help prevent sticking.
2. Cook fruits and vegetables directly over moderately hot coals or use the indirect heat method. Rotate them or move them to a cooler part of the grill during cooking, if needed, to ensure that the outside isn't cooking too quickly.
1. Use vegetables with peeling on - you'll get more nutrition and a smokier flavor.
2. Some vegetables can be pre-cooked before grilling (like artichokes, asparagus, beets, broccoli, carrots, parsnips, potatoes and winter squash) to shorten the grilling time. To pre-cook, steam or blanch until just barely tender, pat dry and then brush lightly with oil and grill.
3. Vegetables like eggplant, fennel, onions, mushrooms, peppers, sweet potatoes, summer squash and tomatoes should be raw when placed on the grill.
1. Peel fruits before grilling
2. Ideal grilling fruits are firm and barely ripe. Watermelon, pineapple, apples, mango, peaches and pears all grill very nicely.
Grilled Summer Vegetables (recipe is from http://www.wholefoods.com)
When eggplant, peppers and summer squashes are in season, use a simple cooking method such as grilling to fully enjoy them and benefit from their nutrients.
1 green and red bell pepper, quartered
1 eggplant, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch thick rounds
1 yellow squash, cut crosswise on the bias into 1/2-inch thick slices
1 zucchini, cut crosswise on the bias into 1/2-inch thick slices
2 tablespoons chopped herbs, such as tarragon, thyme and/or basil (or any other herbs that you prefer)
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Preheat grill to high heat. Working in batches, arrange veggies on the grill and cook, flipping once, until tender and just beginning to char, 3-5 minutes for the zucchini and squash, 6-8 minutes for the peppers and eggplant. Spread out to cool slightly on a large baking sheet.
Roughly chop hot veggies into bite-size pieces and toss with herbs, vinegar, salt and pepper on a large platter. Serve warm, at room temperature, or cold.
Grilled Sweet Potato Fries (recipe is from Real Simple, July, 2009)
4 small sweet potatoes (1 1/2 pounds) cut into wedges
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon maple syrup
In a bowl, toss the sweet potatoes, 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt and pepper. Grill, turning often, until tender and slightly charred, 10-12 minutes. Meanwhile, in the bowl, mix the remaining oil and syrup. Once the potatoes are done, toss in the bowl to coat.
There are other recipes and ideas on using vegetables and fruits at http://www.ChooseMyPlate.gov.